Joey grins cutely


Title: Dawson’s Creek S5.E16 “In a Lonely Place” + S5.E17 “Highway to Hell”
Released: 2002
Series:  Dawson's Creek

Drinks Taken: 15

Follow the whole rewatch here!

Last week, on Dawson’s Creek.

Welcome back to the Dawson’s Creek Rewatch Project, where we are expected to believe that Joey Potter could be considered a conceivable frontwoman for a rock band, which means anyone, even I, could conceivably become the frontwoman for a rock band.

Let’s drink to a world where anything can happen and we’re all rock stars!

Jen smiles, sitting in bed with a bottle of champagne

The Dawson’s Creek Drinking Game

Drink Once every time:

Joey purses her mouth or chews on her lip

Joey tucks her hair behind her ear

Sex makes Dawson and/or Joey extremely uncomfortable

Grams says “Jennifaaah”

Pacey wears a shirt that makes you want to blind yourself

Audrey declares something risqué or insane with utter confidence

Drink Twice every time:

You have literally no idea why Joey is mad

Pacey gives someone a really good hug

Cool Jen Lindley is totally crapped on by the universe

Onto the episodes!

Jen and Dawson lie in bed with Jen's head resting on Dawson's chest, both looking sad

5.16 “In A Lonely Place”

After Joey’s scary run-in last week, her sweet friends have been taking shifts spending time with her, afraid to leave her alone, even though Joey of course tries to convince them this is ridiculous. But it’s nice because it’s been creating a lot of new hang-out opportunities for Dawson and Joey, who hadn’t been spending much time together until this happened. The episode even opens with an old-school movie night! He bails on a concert with Jen to hang out with Joey again, and Jen’s trying to decide if this makes her jealous, and though she feels weird about it, she also might not particularly care. More on that in a sec. 

Meanwhile, Audrey’s decided that she and Pacey shouldn’t be together. Pacey thinks it’s because he didn’t call her after they had sex last week (PACEY. Why didn’t you call?), but Audrey assures him it’s more cosmic than that. They had (admittedly great, according to both of them) sex the night Joey was mugged, and Audrey feels like the two events are somehow related, like they created a universal imbalance that ended with Joey in the hospital, or something. This reasoning is a little cuckoo but sweet, like Audrey herself.

So to get their minds off their boy troubles, Jen and Audrey go together to the concert Jen was supposed to attend with Dawson, some indie band that Jen’s interviewing for her radio station. The two main fellas in the band look exactly like every single indie rock musician you remember from the early 2000s, which is to say they look like limp-haired wimps. But Audrey and Jen are charmed, for some reason, and they agree to divide and conquer. Audrey quickly realizes while talking to her wimp that all she really wants is Pacey, and her wimp is nice enough to talk her into giving her relationship with Pacey a chance. Jen’s wimp encounter, however, convinces her of the opposite. She and the wimp have this great spark, apparently, although their supposed chemistry does NOT translate to the screen, and she realizes that a spark is exactly what’s missing in her relationship with Dawson. Her wimp tries to kiss her, and she stops him, but when she goes home and climbs into bed with Dawson, it’s clear she’s not really feeling it. 

Meanwhile, Pacey’s tracked down Audrey, and she admits the cosmic thing was kind of a silly excuse because she’s afraid of how happy he makes her. They kiss, beautifully, under a streetlight, and it’s so sweet and great. I really like these two together.

Other stuff that happened in this episode: 

* Joey goes to Professor Ken Marino’s office to explain why he hasn’t seen her since Friday, but before she gets a chance to tell him about the mugging, he dismisses her in this gross, professorial way. (I mean, he is her professor, but he lost the right to speak to her like one the second he made out with her.) Later, when she and Dawson are at a movie, she sees him there on a date, and she low-key confronts him in the lobby. He admits he’s trying to make her hate him, because he doesn’t want to ruin the anticipation of what could have been between the two of them, and he thinks there’s a kind of “sweet sadness” in their unfulfilled romance. Yuck? Let’s be clear here: he knows he’s bad in bed and kind of lame, and he doesn’t want to ruin the illusion this hot young lady has of him. Joey is nicer about it than he deserves, and she admits the whole affair to Dawson, who is both shocked and kind of impressed. See you later, Professor Ken Marino!

* Pacey and Jack go to a gay bar together so Pacey can confess his Audrey troubles. It’s cute and fun, and it’s nice seeing Jack be a good friend again, although he’s still drinking too much. A handsome restaurant critic hits on Pacey, and Pacey wants to use it to his advantage to get his restaurant some attention, but Jack wisely steers him away from this pretty terrible idea. 

How many times did I have to drink? 


Dawson’s other woman

He quotes legendary film critic Pauline Kael to Joey for probably the two hundredth time, and Joey jokes, “Does Jen know about this Pauline person you’re always referring to?” Cute joke!


When Jen finds Dawson wearing an XL logo tee before the concert, she tells him, “Okay, well, the show doesn’t start until 7, so you probably have time to change into one of your cooler t-shirts.”

Look at these babes!

Audrey and Jen looking hot hot hot at the concert

Look at these wimps!

Extremely typical early 2000s indie rock guys with shaggy hair and weird beards

Audrey’s greatest hit

When she tells Pacey that she doesn’t think they should have sex again, Pacey suggests they just spend time together without having sex. Audrey snaps back, “I’m not going to subject myself to some kind of platonic torture test. I’m not that kind of girl!” ILU, Audrey.

Charlie and Joey singing into a microphone onstage

5.17 “Highway To Hell”

ChaMM finds Joey and tells her his band has a gig and they need a singer, and he wants Joey to do it because she did such a great (read: amateur karaoke-level) job at the bar that one night. Joey’s flattered and pleased and agrees. They road trip to their destination with Pacey and Audrey, and Pacey is NOT putting up with Charlie. In fact, he kind of hates him, because Pacey is very smart, and they almost come to fisticuffs not once but twice, though Audrey manages to mellow the mood both times. It’s clear that Pacey doesn’t think ChaMM is good enough for Joey, and while he’s right, that’s also not entirely Pacey’s business anymore, something Audrey reminds him of. 

They get to the venue and it’s a pretty rough crowd, and Joey totally freezes on stage. ChaMM nicely starts a duet between the two of them to loosen her up, and the crowd gets into it so Joey relaxes and gives what we’re supposed to believe is a good show. Afterward, Pacey admits to Audrey his main problem with ChaMM is actually that he had to watch the guy make out with Audrey a dozen times for Dawson’s movie, and it made him want to punch ChaMM in his ChaMM face. Audrey’s hilariously turned on that Pacey’s jealousy is actually on her behalf instead of Joey’s, so they decide to skip the ride home so they can have sex in the nearby motel, stranding Joey with ChaMM.

Joey and ChaMM have an okay talk, and though she keeps awesomely downsizing him, it’s clear he’s making a favorable impression. Sigh. Pacey runs into ChaMM and admits that he likes him a little better now that he’s seen ChaMM rescue Joey onstage, “but make no mistake, if you do anything to hurt Joey, I will make you regret it for the rest of your waking days.” HEART EYES. Joey ends the episode climbing into bed with ChaMM fully dressed, but smiling to herself as a song plays with the lyrics “I think that you’re getting to me,” so I guess this relationship is happening no matter what I want. (I will say that ChaMM seems much more sincere around Joey than he does around anyone else, and he admits to her, “I can’t believe how much you throw me off my game, Joey Potter,” which is moderately cute. I still don’t like him, however.)

Other stuff that happened in this episode:

* It’s Lily’s first birthday, so Dawson, Jen and Jack go back to Capeside to celebrate. Once there, Dawson meets a man, Nathan, who’s clearly dating or wanting to date Gail, and poor Dawson wigs out, perfectly understandably. Let’s see, Mitch died after the school year began, so let’s be generous to Gail and say that was September, and we’re still two episodes away from Spring Break, so let’s be generous and say it’s early March. So it’s been six months since your husband and the father of your children suddenly died, and you already have a boyfriend?? Nathan seems nice, but I can’t blame Dawson for being so upset about this, ESPECIALLY because Gail didn’t give him a heads up beforehand – but after a talk with Jen, he lets Gail off the hook, and she seems so relieved. It’s really sweet of Dawson.

* This is a bad week for Dawson all around. Jen has realized since her run-in with the wimp that she just doesn’t feel passionately about Dawson, and she doesn’t think he feels passionately about her, either. She kind of avoids him the whole episode, and he can tell something’s up, but it takes a good old-fashioned bestie talk with Jack for her to figure out what she wants to do. Dawson finds her and she breaks up with him gently, and it really isn’t too bad. She tells him she doesn’t think this is one-sided, and he admits that their relationship was what they both needed at the time, but it feels like they’ve both moved on. Aww. 

How many times did I have to drink? 


Let’s be honest here

Katie Holmes is good at many things, but she cannot sing. Dawson’s Creek needs to stop trying to promote the narrative that this girl can carry a tune in the slightest. 

Still, she looks good doing it


Good burn, Potter

When ChaMM tells Joey that the gig will pay 500 bucks, she replies coolly, “Wow. That’s a month’s worth of hair gel.” 

Audrey’s greatest hit

She’s begging Pacey to get an apartment, because she’s tired of hooking up in his car or her dorm room. “A lady must be courted, Pacey.” She feels inhibited, and Pacey’s like, “THIS is you inhibited?” She says, “I can’t really let my freak flag fly with all those warnings from my RA,” which is really good incentive for Pacey to find an apartment already.

So this is how he courts her

In the motel, he gets her a Hostess cupcake from the vending machine and promises to find a place as soon as possible. 


Good answer, Pace

When ChaMM expresses admiration that Pacey has managed to wrangle two of the most high-maintenance women on the planet (yuck), Pacey replies, “High-maintenance is just another way of saying high quality.” What a dear!

Joey’s gift

Since she can’t be at Lily’s birthday party because of her gig, Joey sends a present with Dawson – and it’s a beautiful sketchbook of Leery family memories. TEARS.

Where Dawson and Jen break up

After Jen and Jack wandered around Capeside, this is where Dawson found her. It’s pretty perfect, actually, considering they both admit their relationship was something of a remnant from their past instead of their destiny. 

Capeside High at night

That’s it for this week! I have a question for you, readers – are you as outraged as I am that Gail has already moved on? I know the show needs drama for story’s sake, but this feels really disrespectful to Mitch’s memory. And I’m sorry, but it must be said – especially after she cheated on him while he was alive.

Meet me back here next Wednesday morning as we cover “Cigarette Burns” and “100 Light Years From Home”! 

Meredith Borders is formerly the Texas-based editor of Fangoria and Birth.Movies.Death., now living and writing (and reading) in Germany. She’s been known to pop by Forever Young Adult since its inception, and she loves YA TV most ardently.